Social giant Facebook is set to raise over US$10 billion in the largest ever tech IPO with stock trading as early as the 18th of May.
Launched eight years ago, founder Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the social network while an undergraduate at Harvard. Initially aimed at university students, Facebook branched out to other schools across the US and had attracted over a million users by the end of the first year.
It would be two years until the general public could sign up to Facebook and now, eight years later, the public can also own a slice of one of the world’s greatest tech success stories. Shares are set to be priced at between US$28 and $35.
Such a valuation means that Facebook will trade at around 15 times revenue while rival Google trades at less than 6 times revenue. The fact that this sort of valuation is even plausible is down to a healthy appetite for investing in the world’s most popular web service.
Around about half the money will end up going to Facebook with the rest going to existing investors. Even Mr Zuckerberg himself is flogging some shares, albeit just 30 of his 530 million. Zuckerberg’s total holding will then be worth nearly $18 billion, making him a few bil’ richer than Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer.
To support the IPO, Facebook has released a prospectus and produced a multi-part video for an upcoming two-week ‘roadshow’. In the introduction Zuckerberg says:
"In middle school I used search engines like Google and Yahoo and I just thought they were the most amazing thing. This complete symbol of the age we live in, where now you have access to all of this information. The thing that seemed like it was missing was always just people."
Check out the Facebook roadshow video here. You’ll need to click past various annoying SEC legalese but it’s an interesting video to see – at least Zuckerberg’s introduction.